New Busing Procedure In Glenwood

-A A +A
By Joel Stevens, Associate Editor

    The Glenwood Community School District unveiled its new busing plan on Monday.
    The new plan, utilizing a “central transfer point” for afternoon bus routes only, will have the district’s bus fleet divided into four equal groups, with one group heading to each of the district’s four school buildings. At  3:15 p.m., all school buildings will be dismissed simultaneously, sending bus route students to assigned “transfer buses” that will then ferry them to the transfer point in the front parking lot of the middle school. After all transfer buses are unloaded, the students will reload onto their assigned “route buses.” All current bus routes will stay the same.

    Dave Greenwood, the district’s director of transportation, said the new afternoon busing procedure just makes sense.
    “Obviously, we’re trying to be safer, and by that I mean, we’re dividing the fleet up and sending it to each building at the same time as opposed to having them follow each other around town in a big long line,” Greenwood said. “It’s easier to get around town. It also  lengthens the school day  in both of our elementary schools, at both Northeast and West, because now all schools will get out at 3:15.”
    Northeast Elementary’s school day will be 15 minutes longer and West Elementary’s 10 minutes longer.
    The old district bus route had all buses starting at Northeast at 3 p.m. and working their way around the district to West, then to the high school and then to the middle school.
    Fewer buses on the same route in town means safer streets and lower fuel costs, Greenwood said.
    “Basically 20 buses following each other around was like a parade,” he said. “This way we will be sending five (buses) to each building and five going to the middle school empty, so essentially 15 buses will be moving about after they dismiss. Obviously if we’re not taking every bus to every building, we’re saving money on fuel and wear and tear. We are anticipating savings there.”
    With just two weeks left in the school year, Greenwood sees the late start in setting up the transfer point as a “test run” for the district for a full-time move this fall.
    “This will be the implementation of it but it’s to work out the bugs also,” he said. “It’s a test run, if you will. We’ll start it and hopefully get all the bugs worked out for the start of school next year.”
    Greenwood felt Monday’s first day of the transfer point went smoothly, for the most part. He anticipates the process will get smoother with more practice. He also doesn’t anticipate a problem with the new routes interfering with traffic at the middle school.
    “Our plan, because we are dismissing every building at the same time, is to have the five buses at each building loading while the walkers and parent’s pick-up is happening (at the middle school). By the time we arrive back at the middle school, potentially, we’re hoping, the walking students and the parents picking up will be gone.”
    The front lot at the middle school has been re-striped for staff parking and buses only during the day. Parent pick-up will be conducted in the rear of the school.
    A dozen members of the middle school faculty along with Greenwood and Glenwood Superintendent Devin Embray were on hand Monday afternoon helping to direct bus and student traffic. Bus drivers and staff also went through in-service training on the new procedure.
    “Hopefully it will be a pretty smooth transition,” Greenwood said.
    Greenwood added the district currently has no plans to expand the transfer procedure to morning bus route dropoffs.